Lake Erie College announces the launch of The Painesville Promise, a public-private partnership designed to help advance the mutual goals of the City of Painesville, the Painesville City Local Schools, and Lake Erie College.
The initiative will enhance the City of Painesville’s level of educational attainment of its residents as well as confront the issue of student loan debt at a local level.
“We at Lake Erie College are incredibly proud to reside in Painesville, and I am thrilled to significantly increase our commitment to the local students of Painesville,” said Lake Erie College President, Dr. Brian Posler. “We are pleased to make a significant new commitment to local students by giving them a means to obtain their degree entirely grant funded.”
This strategic partnership would allow well-prepared Painesville City students of modest means the opportunity to attend Lake Erie College for four years without paying any tuition out of pocket, and without taking on a single loan to pay for tuition and fees. This partnership will increase the educational attainment in the city, and further grow the partnerships between the city, the local schools and the College.
Lake Erie College currently offers millions of dollars in institutional grants for its students, but does not attract large numbers of local Painesville students. “We realize that a college education is a financial burden for many families. We have a vested interest in attracting more local, commuter students to the college, which would allow us to grow without the burden of increased housing infrastructure. We would also like to make more progress on our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives as part of our strategic plan. We hope to attract more academically well-prepared, local students who might otherwise not be able to afford a college education,” said Lake Erie College’s Vice President of Enrollment, Mike Brown.
In addition to assisting with the issue of student loan debt, the Painesville Promise program will also boost educational attainment for Painesville residents. According to 2018 census data, even though Lake County has 27.9% of its residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, the City of Painesville is only at 16.3%, behind the state (26.7%) and national (30.3%) averages, which in turn poses challenges for economic development and the attraction/retention of businesses seeking a well-educated workforce.
“One of Painesville City’s greatest assets is the young people who live in our city. This program is a collaborative effort between the City and College to help provide a four year college education for our young adults,” said Jim Fodor, Painesville City Councilman. “This program also addresses the need of our local businesses and organizations seeking a well-educated workforce. This program is an investment in our future and provides hope for the future of students who qualify.”
“A talented and skilled workforce is one of the primary reasons Northeast Ohio’s targeted industries choose a location for business and industry,” said Cathy Bieterman, Painesville Economic Development Director. “ This program is a grassroots effort at building that talent here locally and retaining them to fill the workforce gaps in our community and enhance the competitiveness of our local companies and corporations.”
According to Posler, Painesville Promise comes at a fitting time as the College has a renewed focus on its strategic plan. “The goals within our plan including growing enrollment, a community-wide effort to increase inclusion, equity and diversity and instilling a sense of pride of place fit nicely with the new initiative,” said Posler.
Eligible students would already have qualified for federal and state need-based grants, and some academic scholarships and need-based grants from the college. As part of the Painesville Promise, the College would increase institutional financial aid packages for these students. The City of Painesville will also commit resources to help these students afford college.
Criteria for program eligibility includes: First-time freshmen who apply and have been accepted to Lake Erie College; Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above and a score in the top 50th percentile on standardized tests (18 or above on the ACT or 960 or above on the SAT); families who file Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) eligible and full Federal Pell Grant eligible; and students who reside within the Painesville City limits for the past two academic years. Students who are admitted must enroll in full-time undergraduate study at Lake Erie College.
“Painesville Promise has the potential to make a college education available to students who may otherwise not have access. As a school district, we are constantly seeking to increase opportunity for the students we serve, and we are appreciative of and excited for the collaboration with the City of Painesville and Lake Erie College in this effort,” said Josh Englehart, Ed.S., Ph.D., Superintendent of Painesville City Local Schools.
For the Media:
A press conference announcing the partnership will take place Wednesday, April 7, 10:00 am at Painesville Municipal Court (7 Richmond Street, Painesville, OH) courtroom #1. Media are invited to attend. Please remember to remain socially distanced and wear a mask to the event. Media may ask questions directly following remarks from all three organizations.
About Lake Erie College:
Lake Erie College, founded in 1856, provides an excellent, inclusive, and highly personalized education grounded in the liberal arts tradition. Guided by hope and care, our students are empowered to lead lives of personal significance and professional success as global citizens. We offer 35 undergraduate majors and master’s programs in business administration, professional studies, education, and physician assistant studies. Our students compete in 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports and on three intercollegiate equestrian teams.
About the City of Painesville:
Settled in 1800, Painesville is the county seat of Lake County, Ohio and is located along the beautiful Grand River, roughly 30 miles northeast of Cleveland and 2.5 miles from the shores of Lake Erie. Painesville is home to Lake Erie College, Morley Library and a dynamic historical downtown district. The city is named after General Edward Paine who served in the Revolutionary War and settled in the area shortly after. Painesville has a population of over 19,000 per the 2010 census.